Gasland director Josh Fox released a short film last month targeting the Democratic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, for his plan to open economically distressed parts of the state to hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." The 18-minute film skewers Cuomo for his plans and exposes oil and gas industry internal documents which detail that some of corporations also have concerns about well safety and water contamination.
This piece was first published by Connor Gibson at GreenPeace and is being cross-posted by the Center for Media and Democracy.
Wake up and smell the frack fluid! But don't ask what's in it, at least not in Ohio, cause it's still not your right to know.
Ohio is in the final stages of making an Exxon trojan horse on hydrofracking into state law, and it appears that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) connected Exxon's lawyers with co-sponsors of Ohio Senate Bill 315: at least 33 of the 45 Ohio legislators who co-sponsored SB 315 are ALEC members, and language from portions of the state Senate bill is similar to ALEC's "Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Composition Act."
...disclosure of fracking fluids? On behalf of ExxonMobil?!
-- by Sandra Steingraber; this intro and open letter were originally posted on the Orion magazine blog.
Orion's search for a more truthful relationship between humans and the natural world occasionally calls for the expression of outrage. The more we learn about a gas-drilling practice called hydraulic fracturing—or "fracking"—the more we see it as a zenith of violence and disconnect, impulses that seem to be gathering on the horizon like thunder clouds.
Long-time friend and Orion columnist Sandra Steingraber has been particularly vocal about the dangers of fracking. Her columns in recent issues of the magazine have frequently been dedicated to the issue; and last year, after receiving a Heinz Award for her work, Steingraber donated the cash prize to the fight against fracking in her home state of New York.
Tucson-based civil rights attorney Stacy Scheff believes that Westin Kierland may have violated federal constitutional law when they threw a journalist (and paid guest) out into the dead of night--due to the simple fact that the journalist evicted had written critically of (and was not liked by) the organization hosting a conference at the hotel. (A new story about these events is available here).
"Energy Citizens," a front group backed by the American Petroleum Institute (API), has launched a new national ad campaign in advance of the 2012 elections to try and make it sound like substantial public support exists for increased oil and gas drilling known as fracking. The print and TV ads, coordinated by the Edelman PR firm, are titled "I'm an Energy Voter." They feature supposedly average people looking into the camera and saying "I vote ...for American domestic energy" and promoting the industry's goals of opening up more land to drilling. The ads link increasing drilling to job creation, economic prosperity and national energy security. (PRWatch has previously reported how, in fact, the increased fracking for "natural" methane gas has actually led to dramatically increased exporting of America's natural gas.) The industry's ad also drives viewers to the website "Vote4Energy.org." The homepage of the website give no indication that Energy Citizens is a creation of the oil industry, as CMD has previously reported. API CEO Jack Gerard insists the effort is "not an ad campaign...It's a conversation with the American people." But when API put out a casting call to recruit volunteers to star in the commercial, a Greenpeace activist showed up. When he started to read his lines, he veered off-script and decried the "lies and influence peddling" of the oil industry and he was quickly shown the door.
Thousands of Indiana workers rallied outside, and inside, their state capitol on Wednesday to speak out against Governor Mitch Daniels' renewed effort to force through so-called "right to work" legislation designed to undermine labor unions and workers' rights protected by collective bargaining.
The Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, the National Wildlife Federation and ForestEthics have joined together to run an ad (pdf) to raise awareness changes proposed to green building standards by the U.S. Green Building Council that would hinder the trend toward sustainable building construction. Since 2000, the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building certification system has helped drive commercial and residential builders towards using more sustainable building and development practices. Under the LEED system, builders are rewarded with points for using green building techniques and materials, including sustainably-forested wood products, which often cost more. But changes the organization is proposing to the LEED system would erode those guidelines by rewarding builders who use wood logged from rainforests or other areas that have been devastated by clearcutting. Under the new changes, all wood would be considered good for use in construction as long as it was logged legally, without regard to forestry technique or location. This subtle but important change would hand big logging companies a victory by weakening demand for sustainably-raised forest products and encouraging builders to ignore the impacts of industrial-scale, clear-cut logging -- the very practices the LEED system was design to reduce.
A prominent global warming skeptic funded by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation has publicly reversed himself and now agrees with the vast majority of mainstream climate scientists who conclude Earth's temperature really is quickly rising. Richard Muller, a physicist and well known climate skeptic, did his own research and calculated that the land is now 1.6 degrees warmer than it was in the 1950s -- figures that match those produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA). Billionaire Charles G. Koch, founder of the Charles G. Koch Foundation, is a well-known funder of global warming skeptics. Together with his billionaire brother, David, the Kochs own the country's largest, privately-held energy company, Koch Industries, which produces significant greenhouse gases and fights efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. Koch Industries has long worked to undermine environmental protections and protect corporate polluters. Koch Industries is also a long-time member and funder of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a nonprofit group that helps corporate representatives draft and advance "model" bills that benefit their bottom line, and get the bills into the hands of legislators who introduce them in state houses as though they were their own ideas. ALEC also provides corporate-drafted "model" resolutions legislators can introduce that are aimed at thwarting efforts to address climate change.
A lobbyist for Koch Industries and energy interests serves with a lobbyist for Pfizer pharmaceuticals as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) corporate co-chairs in Wisconsin, according to documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy at this year's ALEC Annual Meeting. For some, their fundraising for "scholarships" to benefit ALEC legislative members raises issues of legislative ethics.
The dangers posed by the natural gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" to the nation's water supply and human health are slowly becoming a part of the mainstream dialogue. The 2010 documentary Gasland has played a key role in raising public awareness. Now the director of the film, Josh Fox, has won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming.